Sunday, February 13, 2011


The phone rings almost very day.  Her voice comes on the line, weak and halting:

"Hi Sharon, this is Mom."
 I go.

She needs diapers.
She'd like some canned pears.
The vanilla ice cream is too sweet there.
She's eating a lot of tuna fish lately.

I order diapers.  I bring the pears.  And the ice cream.  And tuna in water.

"Hi Sharon, this is Mom."
I go.

Her apartment security deposit finally arrived.
She is disappointed.
She thought there might be interest.
She's made a list of how she wants to use the money.

I explain about the interest.  We pay all the bills.  We send some money to my sister.  I balance the checkbook and show her she's solvent, even after paying for everything.  She's elated.

"Hi Sharon, this is Mom."
I go.

She's been called in for jury duty.

I read the summons. We have a good laugh.  I check the box that says Medical Excuse.   It doesn't even begin to explain things, but it's the closest they've got.

"Hi Sharon, this is Mom."
I go.

Her feet are in excruciating pain.
She can't concentrate or do crosswords or finish a TV show.
Her vision is blurry.
She's helpless.
Awful things are happening at night.
The voices are everywhere.
They can stop the mail.
They can do anything.
They hate her.
It's everyone.  It's the mattress company.
She's unforgiven, and that explains it.
She's terrified.
She's adamant.
She wants this to be over.
She is in agony.

I can barely hear or understand her.   I try and I fail.  I don't stop the voices, or the torture, or the terror.   I hold her hand.  I stay until I can't.  I run, fast and far.  I call my sister.  I call the doctor.

"Dr. X, this is Sharon"

He goes.
He gives her something for the foot pain and something stronger for the rest.  He confirms that this is all part of her condition, to be expected as the disease progresses.   They know what to do.  He helps both of us.  We are calmer.  I alert the family.  We are at the beginning of the end.

"Hi Sharon, this is Mom."
I go.

She wants Maria to help her with the suppository.
Maria is much nicer about it.
She spills her water when she tries to drink it.
That's annoying, because she hates changing clothes so often.
It's very tiring.
She would like some turkey, but not that processed kind.
Alicia Keys named her baby "Egypt", and now look what's happened in the world.  Amazing.

I smile. I read her letters and emails from friends and cards from her relatives.  I talk about the kids and we remember things that happened that were good.  I tell her I will bring turkey.  And some straws.

I go.
"Hi Mom, this is Sharon."

No answer.  She's sleeping soundly.
I'll come back.

1 comment:

  1. My heart is with you. Taking care of a dying mom is hard. Really, really hard! It seems that you are keeping a good good as you can. Hang in there.